We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2013 has been non-stop for us with plenty of new products, great taste awards and product introductions to some of Britain’s top chefs and stores – we would not have got here without you, our beloved fans, so we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting our products. We hope our range has excited your kitchen time and lifted up your eating experiences.

The biggest highlight of 2013 must have been the Great Taste Awards results, which were unveiled in August and where we found that 3 of our products were awarded gold stars. The Great Taste Awards are very challenging as nearly 10,000 products from around the world are blind tasted and only a few emerge victorious with gold stars to prove their superior quality and extraordinary taste. Funnily enough, the day before the Great Taste Awards results were announced, we had received an email from a consumer who’s bought our olive oil from a shop in North London, with the words “thanks for providing the UK with such great quality oil”!

This year, Crete has really come to the fore thanks to Britain’s coolest chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Yotam visited Crete for the filming of his latest series and there, he fell in love with Crete’s traditional bread Dakos, which is dried rusk bread. If you watched the series, you will have seen the dish being prepared with a tomato salad and plenty of fresh olive oil and vinegar. The idea is for the juice of the tomato and the oil & vinegar to rehydrate the Dakos and to soften the crisp bread. We are proud to be supplying Yotam with our Dakos, which is made at a small artisan bakery in Crete.

We have introduced many new products this year, including the Greek Mezze range, our Red Wine Vinegar with Orange Honey (which joins the other varieties launched in 2012) and our most innovative product, our Sweet Olive, Fig & Almond. We have made our Sweet Olive by cooking the Kalamata olive in a sweet syrup and adding fresh fig and almonds. It has a caramelised flavour which pairs particularly well with cheese like goat’s cheese and stilton – the product arrived just in time for Christmas and we hope many of you will enjoy it with your cheese this festive season.

Many of you will have seen us at food fairs as we like to get out and about! It was at the BBC Good Food Show in London where I recorded the highlight of my year. It was on Sunday morning, the final day of the show and we were busy setting up in the morning. Suddenly I was greeted “good morning” and as I looked up, none other than Michel Roux Jnr was standing in front of me. We had a very pleasant conversation and he even congratulated us for our creativity with the Sweet Olive!

We hope you will have a great festive period and all of us at Olive Branch look forward to seeing you all again in 2014.

from Maria

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